If an employer or a prospective employer in North Carolina has asked you to take a drug test, you'll want to know your legal rights. Federal law places few limits on employer drug testing: Although the federal government requires testing by employers in a few safety-sensitive industries (including transportation, aviation, and contractors with NASA and the Department of Defense), federal law doesn't otherwise require – or prohibit drug tests. For the most part, state and local laws determine whether a private employer may require drug testing.
North Carolina allows employers to require applicants and employees to take drug tests, as long as the employer follows state procedures. Employers are not required to drug test.
Employers in North Carolina may require applicants to take a drug test as a condition of employment. Unless the applicant signs a written waiver, a positive test must be confirmed at an approved laboratory.
Applicants have the right to retest a confirmed positive sample at their own expense, at the same lab that confirmed the sample or at another approved lab of their choosing.
North Carolina employers may require employees to take drug tests. There are no restrictions on the circumstances in which an employer may require a drug test.
Testing must be performed under reasonable and sanitary conditions, and "individual dignity" must be respected to the extent possible. Drug tests must be performed by an approved laboratory. Employees have the right to retest a confirmed positive sample at their own expense, at the same lab that confirmed the sample or at another approved lab of their choice.
Even though North Carolina law allows employers to drug test, employees and applicants may have legal claims based on how the test was conducted, who was tested, or how the results were used. Here are some examples: